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ADC Paper Expo

Some paper samples from the expo, with the letter pressed Livin the Dream design print in the center

Some samples from the expo

While I don’t get to work with paper that often in my projects, it’s definitely my favorite medium. Nothing feels quite like it, and paper can evoke so many memories through touch. Whenever I hold a piece of colored construction paper, the kind used in elementary school, I get transported back to the sensation of drawing on it or cutting it out for a project.

Going to the Art Director’s Club 2014 Annual Paper Expo wasn’t exactly that, but it still inspired. What I would consider the best part, and the main reason I went this year was to hand crank my own limited edition letter pressed print (along with 499 other people) of the ‘Livin the Dream’ design from illustrator Scott Biersack (aka @youbringfire). Scott was  the winner of Aldine’s Featured Artist contest for the ADC Paper Expo. In addition to the print, which I patiently waited 40 minutes to get (20 of which were spent fixing the letterpress after they ran into some technical problems), I of course picked up some samples from most of the vendors.

 

The limited edition Livin the Dream letter-pressed print       Close of of the limited edition Livin the Dream letter-pressed print

Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 1: Inserting the paper into the press.       Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 2: Cranking the press so the plate imprints onto the paper.

Creating my limited edition letter pressed print. STEP 3: Releasing and removing the print.

A year ago if you Googled Monument Valley, you’d come up with well-known images and wiki entries about the place in Southeast Utah (on the Arizona-Utah state line, near the Four Corners area). And perhaps even now, your top 20 hits might still be about one of the most photographed locations in the world. But if you searched a little further, or added ‘app’ or ‘iPhone’ after it, you’ll surely come across results that welcome into the world of the beautifully designed and engineered app game from UsTwo Games.

The game, which many compare it to something out of an M.C. Escher dream, is mesmerizing in every way possible. UsTwo has woven adventure, logic, storytelling and beauty all into one amazing game. At first, I didn’t even realize it was a story, but by the time I had completed the game (which was only a couple of hours later) I was in awe. The fact that I could become attached to some little character living in an imaginary world that has no place in reality, was mind-blowing. This game really sets the highest bar I can imagine for smart phone apps.

One of my absolute favorite scenes from the game is when one of the characters, Totem, bursts through a wall in hopes of reuniting with his friend.  As a tribute, I created a GIF of it. I don’t know if I’ve broken any copyright laws by doing this, but I will say that this GIF is derived directly from the game. I own no part of any of it, except for the fact that I created the GIF.

This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.

This GIF was created using scenes from the UsTwo iPhone app game. None of this content is my original work.

 

Cup & Spoon interior. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Cup & Spoon interior.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

I recently visited my close friend from Portfolio School (Creative Circus), Rose Quasarano, in Chicago, where she now lives. Like many people I graduated the Circus with, Rosie made a huge leap from being an advertising creative in as an Associate Creative Director at a well-respected agency, to being an entrepreneur diving headfirst into the unknown of owning and running her own coffee shop. Ironically, though, the industry she left to pioneer her entrepreneurial dream, armed her with an arsenal of resources and connections to help her get started.

What began as a life long dream turned into a pop-up shop (at NOSH in Wicker Park/Logan Square Farmer’s Market), then a Kickstarter campaign and finally a brick and mortar business called Cup & Spoon, which now stands at 2415 W North Ave in the WOW district (West Of Western) of Chicago. I was honored when Rosie asked me to design her logo, and in doing so  joined a few other Circus alumni whose talent and admiration for Rosie helped nurture her ambition to open this shop (Designer Kiki Karpus and writer RC Jones both generously donated their talent to offer perks for C&S’s Kickstarter campaign). Like many small businesses, Cup & Spoon strongly believes in supporting the community in which it’s based, and sources their brew and sweet treats locally. But what really makes them special is Rosie’s continued connection to artists. Cup & Spoon shares a building with Dreambox Gallery, a contemporary art venue based in Chicago since 2003. Together they formed WOW Frequency, which showcases emerging and established artists in Chicago right inside the coffee shop.

If you’re ever in the area (next to Humboldt Park) and are in the mood for coffee or tea, or if you just want to taste one of Chicago’s best pop tarts (Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop’s pop tarts, which are sold at C&S, were dubbed by Chicago Magazine as one of the best pop tarts in the city), I guarantee you’ll be happy you stopped here.

Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party.

Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It's awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.

Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It’s awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.

Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

Me at Logan Square Farmer's Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.

Me at Logan Square Farmer’s Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.

Zombie in 20 minutes

As a  follow-up to my post from October 5th when I attended the New jersey Zombie Walk, I wanted to post a few pics from when I had again went into zombie mode for my company’s informal Halloween party. On this occasion, I had way less time, but still managed to make a pretty convincing zombie, even without the contacts.

It took me 20 minutes in the bathroom, some fake blood, cotton balls and latex to turn into this

First phase of zombie makeup, with latex, cotton balls and fake blood

It took me another hour or so just to get the contacts in

Second phase of zombie makeup, with more latex, cotton balls and fake blood and contacts

Which is why I opt for glasses 

Final phase of zombie makeup, this time with my reading glasses and fake teeth

 

Saturday, Oct 5, 2013, marked the World’s Largest Gathering of Zombies by Guinness World Record™. It all went down on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in New Jersey. 9,592 undead turned out for the NJ Zombie Walk to reclaim the title from the current record breaking event which took place at the 8th annual The Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Midway Stadium on Oct 13, 2012.
nj zombie walk 2013 record breaking photo

screen shot take from njzombiewalk.com

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it there before the gates closed for counting but I was definitely there in spirit and in costume. My boyfriend, who had taken classes in special effects and has always been inspired by the work of Tom Savini (Dawn of The Dead, etc.), decided it would be fun if he got me into character for the event. He hadn’t done makeup in a while so it was partly experimentation, but we both enjoyed the process and transformation and had a lot of fun taking pics.

THE TOOLS

makeup tools laid out on bed

Tools used for the makeup included: bottle of liquid latex, fake red and black blood, ben nye products, paint brushes, cotton balls, eyeliner, stipple sponge, baby oil/mineral oil, elmer’s glue stick, rubbing alcohol.

various paint brushes used for makeup various markers used for makeup fake blood and other makeup tools makeup tools laid out on bed makeup tools laid out on bed

THE PROCESS

latex and cotton application to build up features

latex and cotton application to build up features

black makeup application around eyes and mouth first layer of makeup and detailing mean zombie face

close up of zombie face

I purchased fake zombie teeth to enhance the effect. They’re a little clunky but funny looking.

latex on hands

We added nails and covered my hands really quick just to help them match my face. By the time we got to the boardwalk it was already peeling.

latex makeup mask in full zombie makeup on the street

 

latex makeup mask

The grease makeup prevented the latex from sticking to every part of my face. By the time the night was over, I just cut the mask in half and peeled it off my face, leaving only the edges.

latex makeup mask

after makeup/latex is removed

the latex peeled off, but getting it off my hairline and neck took time. I used uni-solve (used in hospitals) and it worked great. The green around my mouth is food coloring that I used to darken my teeth and the edges of my skin underneath the latex.

[Belated] Happy Birthday to Louis Armstrong

This post is overdue by a few weeks (it’s July 22nd, even though I’m dating it the 4th) but it’s something I wanted to make sure I remembered and could share with anyone interested.

It’s said that Jazz was born in America and is enjoyed worldwide, so it was very befitting that the father of jazz, Louis Armstrong, happened to be born on this day – or so that’s what most people believe. From a child, Louis Armstrong had been told by his mother that his birthday was the same day as the country he had been born in. It’s the date associated with his social security number as well as his draft card and other government-issues documents. It wasn’t until scholars found his baptismal papers that it was confirmed that Louis Armstrong was in fact born on August 4, 1901.

That didn’t stop the Louis Armstrong House Museum  (LAHM) from celebrating his birthday in full force on July 4, 2013, however. The LAHM is an organization run by Queens College, CUNY, built to preserve the legacy of Louis Armstrong and the home he shared with his wife Lucille in Corona, Queens, where he spent the last 30 years of his life  up until his death on July 6, 1971 just a month shy of his (real) 71st birthday.

The celebration started with a private complimentary luncheon for members and then followed with a concert from the band Bria’s Hot Five which was open to everyone who purchased a ticket. Being a member of the LAHM, but never having visited the house, I was able get access to the backyard (you need to sign up for a tour to see the inside of house) before most were – though it turns out almost everyone who attended has been to the house before. The backyard, which is an entire lot onto itself, had what could be described as a parasol of intertwined branches and leaves. The high trees gave an abundance of shade, which made it more comfortable on such a hot day, though there was unshaded area where you could sit on benches or admire the small pond. There was also a nice outdoor bar, where they served members some southern fixins like collard greens, mac & cheese, rice & beans and corn bread. Not to mention the delicious birthday cake that everyone got a piece of after the show. It was certainly a great day and a great way to celebrate The 4th of July.

PS: If you bring your mouthpiece to the LAHM archives at Queens College, you’ll get the opportunity to play one of Louis’ actual trumpets.

louis armstrong house museum - welcome desk on July 4, 2013 event

Welcome desk at Louis Armstrong’s House located at 34-56 107th Street
Corona, NY 11368

louis armstrong house museum - luncheon welcome

louis armstrong house museum - inside first floor

louis armstrong house museum - armstrong coronet

louis armstrong house museum - backyard (looking out to 107th street)

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

louis armstrong house museum - backyard

bria and the hot five

bria and the hot five. bria playing trumpet.

If you still have AOL (like me), or frequent Huffington Post, you might have already read the story on HuffPost’s Weird News about 3D Dildo Print-Outs from 3DEA. Ironically, I hadn’t. So it wasn’t until I came across the pop-up 3D printing store 3DEA on 6th avenue and W 29th St. that I got a chance to see where the future lies for 3D printing. Dildos did not seem to be present (perhaps because they were all sold out, or because this looked to be a family-friendly environment), but I did get to browse and see some other rather interesting things.

To read more about the vendors, such as Ultimaker and ShapeShot (creator of the dildos), take a visit to the shop’s site. 3DEA runs until Dec. 27 and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11a-7p and Sundays from 11a-6p.

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA, a pop-up 3D printing store in New York City

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave) 3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

3DEA: A pop-up 3D print store in NYC (West 29th and 6th Ave)

The Desired Things

For the past couple of years, I’ve been living with my sister and soon-to-be brother in law – by financial, rather than personal, choice. I have my own room and belongings, yet most of my possessions are in storage. And while I recognize how fortunate I am to have a sister who has a home with enough space and amenities to accommodate me tenfold, I can’t help but feel that my life has somewhat been on hold for as long as I’ve been here.

The other day I took a trip to the storage facility where part of my existence has been tucked away since the end of 2010. Sometimes when I visit and see everything that was once at my fingertips stacked high and packed tightly out of my grasp, I dwell over the fact that I’ve missed the enjoyment of so many things I own – books, photos, plates, pillows, etc. This past Saturday, I was there to store some more stuff I no longer had room for at home. And as I do on most occasions, I opened up a few boxes to both reacquaint my mind with those things I had since forgotten, and to evaluate what if anything is no longer worth holding on to.

I rummaged through a bunch of old papers I had saved from past jobs and schools, happily purging things I felt I wouldn’t even remember existed. My eyes  perused everything, quickly opening folded papers to check the importance of their contents. After throwing away a small chunk of overstuffed, disorganized folders, I opened one of my many worn out cardboard boxes and came across a piece of white paper haphazardly folded, peeking out from underneath an old DVD/VHS player. Thinking it was nothing, I hastily grabbed and opened it. At the top were the words “La Desiderata”  (Latin for “desired things”). As I started to read, I thought about who could have given it to me. I could not recall for certain, but believe it was my old design teacher from the Creative Circus – Sylvia Gaffney. I vaguely remembered her doing so, and it seemed like something she would leave us with upon our departure from school onto our next step in the world of advertising.

La Desiderata is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872–1945). Largely unknown in the author’s lifetime, the text became widely known after its use in a devotional, after subsequently being found at Adlai Stevenson’s deathbed in 1965, and after spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972 (Wikipedia). The poem is one that makes you stop what you’re doing and reflect upon your life at that very moment. It forces you to take a step back and put everything, all the your sadness, anxiety, uncertainty and anger, into perspective. On that one sheet of 8.5×11 paper, words served to remind me of the most important and meaningful lessons in life. And now I will safely store it very close by so that my fingertips can once again touch it at a moment’s desire.

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

E.T. : The Death of Atari

I was recently searching through an old box of photos, when I came across the 1982 Atari game manual for E.T. I probably hadn’t seen this since I last played Atari, so it wasn’t only a nice find, but a fun experience to page through the booklet and remind myself of how cool this game was. (continue below)

ET-Atari manual

ET-Atari manual

ET-Atari manual

ET-Atari manual

ET-Atari manual

ET-Atari manual back cover

Unfortunately, the images did little to rekindle my memory. I acknowledged the fact that it has been over 20+ years since I last played an Atari game, yet I could clearly remember the many other Atari games I played as a child and how instant my recognition was of any imagery associated with them. Take for example the games Pitfall, Warlords and, of course, Pacman (shown below). One glimpse of a screen shot from any of these and I’m immediately transported back to the old gray carpeting of my living room, staring up at colored boxes on the T.V., and holding onto that joystick like it was the only thing keeping me alive.

It wasn’t until I googled ‘E.T. Atari’ that I learned why my mind draws a blank on this epic film turned video game. Apparently, it was due to Atari’s unrealistic demands to have the game ready for Christmas, which ultimately led to its demise. Below is an excerpt from Wiki:

“Though 1982 wasn’t a perfect year for Atari. At the end of the year they released E.T., a licensed game of the incredibly popular Spielberg film. The game cost around $125 million to develop, largely due to the licensing costs of the game. The game designer was Howard Scott Warshaw, who had received nothing but praise and adulation for his game Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

However, due to the amount of time that negotiations took, Warshaw was left with just 5 weeks to design the game in time for the festive period. The result: one of the worst video games ever made and one of the biggest video game commercial failures of all time. Apparently 1 million of the 5 million cartridges were sold, with rumours of the rest being buried in a New Mexico landfill.

…The result is often cited as one of the worst video games released and was one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming history.

Photo by Weegee

Google ‘street photography’ and many of the images will be of some place and time in NYC, most of them black & white with some edge of grittiness. Not all of them will be of actual streets, since the term is more correctly used to describe any photography made in public places, such as parks, subways or even shopping malls. But more times than not, they feature people, often candidly, going about their day.

Now Google ‘street photography weegee’ and you’ll not only get photos relating to NYC, but there will inevitably be dead bodies included in the mix.

Google image results for 'street photography'

Google image results for ‘street photography’

Google image results for 'street photography'

Google image results for ‘street photography weegee’

Weegee, whose real name is Arthur Fellig, was a photographer and photojournalist who popularized flash photography in his method for achieving gritty, high contrast, black and white images. If you were smart enough to purchase the Living Social voucher for the International Center of Photography (ICP), and actually used it, you likely saw the exhibition Weegee: Murder is my Business, which just ended yesterday, September 2nd.

Weegee was dubbed the photographer of Murder Inc. because of his ‘coverage’ of many mafia-related killings during the 1930s and 1940s.  In a time when organized crime was at its peak and dead bodies strewn on the sidewalk and rooftop were commonplace, Weegee’s photos portrayed death in a fashion not unlike the way he did  life – a candid photo of someone going about their day. Except for these people, their life ended while the day continued on.

While seeing a dead body is something intriguing to many people, what most surprised me about Weegee’s work was how unfazed many bystanders were at the site of a violent death. Kids hanging out the window overlooking a body riddled with bullets, couples posing for their 15 minutes of fame while they stand over a blood stained corpse. Weegee, himself, even said that he took more interest in the living rather than the dead when it came to a documenting a crime scene because of the reaction (or lack thereof) that it evoked in people. What also interested me was his relationship with the police. The level of priority and clearance he was given is something that would never exist today. Because of his close proximity to the police station and his own alarm system, there were times when he would even get to the crime scenes before the cops, and very commonly case the scene and provide to his own conclusion of what happened.

You can find a lot of Weegee’s photos in his book Naked City, though I should warn that some reviews on Amazon claim many of the images from this reproduced work appear to be scanned from the original 1945 version instead of the original images, and that another one Weegee’s New York: Photograpphy 1930-1960 is a better buy because it provides large beautifully printed reproductions on glossy paper. I’m certain, however, that whichever you chose, you’ll get a true depiction of what NYC was really like during the 30s and 40s.

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